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#4: Mulch

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Click here for Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principle 4

Mulch to retain soil moisture, protect plants, and inhibit weed growth. Mulch can be made of organic products or synthetics. It works by slowing the evaporation of water, which makes it a great conservation tool. Mulch keeps fragile plant roots warm on those few cooler weeks we have, and it protects them from harsh sun in the summer. It gives your landscape a well-groomed look, and also reduces erosion and stormwater runoff.

Keep two to three inches of mulch on your plant beds

  • Mulch twice per year to maintain depth.
  • Choose a sustainable variety of mulch such as melaleuca, pine straw, or eucalyptus. Melaleuca mulch is made from destroyed invasive trees, but the product is cured at a very high temperature to ensure that no seeds survive.
  • How much mulchAvoid cypress mulch. While some is made from manufacturing waste, it is not easy to verify. To avoid potentially buying mulch from trees harvested off Florida's wetlands, it is best to avoid cypress mulch entirely.
  • Leave a two inch buffer space between the edge of the mulch and tree trunks. If the mulch touches the tree, the moisture the mulch promotes may cause rot.

Cut down on mowing by replacing grass with mulch.

  • Good candidates for mulching include spaces that are on an incline or difficult to mow. You'll save yourself time and money by mulching these.
  • Areas that are too shady to grow many types of plants are perfect for mulching. It avoide the problem of having to maintain full ground cover. Tuck a few native shade lovers in the beds and they'll be even prettier.
  • This tactic is particularly effective under trees which lose their leaves or needles. The droppings add to the mulch and help to maintain it.

More Information

Read the Florida-friendly Landscaping Handbook - #4 Mulch to get information on how to shape beds, when to spread and what types of organic and synthetic mulches are available.


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